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Posts Tagged ‘Seljuk

“Library Antoine, Lebanon”, Antoine Naufal, Kamal Ataturk, French mandate over Lebanon (1919-1946)

A biographical book, published in French, was undertaken by Nayla, one of the 4 daughters of late Antoine Nawfal (father of the Girls) who died of cancer in 1981. The book was written by Nadia Anid.

Antoine Naufal established in 1933 the first branch of “Library Antoine” in Bab Idriss (Beirut) during the French mandate. This branch was demolished during the civil war. Another branch was opened in Hamra,  and lately in Ashrafieh.

The Library initially catered for school books, and focused mainly on French publications during and after the French mandate.

Antoine had a tough upbringing: The family had to flee from Turkey (the city of Mersin) during the dictatorship of Kamal Ataturk and relocated several times before settling in Lebanon.

After WWI, Ataturk started his antics and forced the settled Levantines to immigrate, by burning the Christian houses…The father Selim of the Naufal family (three boys and two girls) grabbed the few gold coins they had and waited for the train (run by the Germans) to take them to Alexandretta (Alexandrina).

Alexandretta was part of Syria and under the French mandated power. The Levantines thought that they were finally at peace, but France reneged on its responsibility and handed over Ataturk the region of Alexandretta in 1936.

The Naufal family had relocated to Lebanon in 1930, under duress from the nationalist Turks, and settled in the town of Baabdat (north Metn district).  Baabdat had many families who lived in Mersin and had returned to Lebanon.

Selim, father of Antoine, was a master tailor who practised in Marseille for a couple of years, and the family owned factories for weaving cottons and other kinds of cloths, and were living the grand bourgeois life-style.

Selim could never adapt to his Lebanese surrounding and kept repeating: “These cucumbers are no match to the ones in Misrine…while sipping on arak and nibbling on the mezze of vegetable on the table”

It happened that both major relocations took place during Christmas nights, as the turkey was readied to be served, before the fires started in the neighboring houses and in the house proper. Selim vowed: “From now on, I don’t want to see any turkey in the house...”

Kamal Ataturk had declared that “Turkey is for the Turks” and conducted campaigns to kick out from Turkey the Levantines (people from Syria and Lebanon), the Greeks, the Armenians, and basically anyone who was not a Moslem…

And who are the Turks?

They are nomads from the current State of Turkmenistan and its neighboring countries (Central Asia). These nomadic tribes coalesced under the leadership of a Seljuk Khan and defeated a large Byzantine army around the end of the 11th century and settled in the more fertile land of eastern Turkey.

The Seljuk opted for Konia as Capital and conquered Syria, Lebanon, and part of Palestine. They were the main forces who battled with the crusaders for two centuries.

Before and during the WWI, many families from Lebanon had settled in Turkey, and mainly in the prosperous city of Mersin and in Adana. Families like Khawli, Lahoud, Sayegh, Khalil, Saad (Habib Basha Saad was the first president of Lebanon during the mandate)…

Antoine once said: “I was never a child. I never had an anniversary or received any gift on special occasions. I was never called Tony. I was always Antoine, the elder son with the responsibility of taking care of the family…”

Antoine started working very early on and couldn’t finish his high school. He found a job at a library in Beirut (Librarie du Foyer) owned by Ernest Chehab who wouldn’t sell book banned by the Catholic Church, the old and the current ones…

One day, he discovered that shops in Bab Idriss,  on Patriarch Hoyek Street, were for rent at modicum prices: The street was plagued with a taboo of unlucky stories of chain bankruptcies…Antoine mother handed him the 250 pounds from her secret savings, unknown to the family…

Antoine used to bike to the nearest library competitors (like Bsalti, Bugnard…) to buy the unavailable books ordered by clients, and would return while the clients are perusing the books and the magazines…

(I recall many such zeal from Lebanese overseas: Hopping to get the required spare parts from competitors not available in their initial store…)

Antoine received the French medal of Legion d’Honneur in 1964: only 20 of his family members were to be invited, and the family counted 21 members…

His mother-in-law Nazha separated from her husband after Antoine married her daughter Della (for Adel). Consequently, Nazha cut-off the head of her husband from all the picture and would never mention his name, saying only: “He was a woolf

Note 1: You think that this book is a biography of Antoine Naufal, and it turned out to be the story of Nayla… Too many tangent stories about Samir Jaber, Georginia, Rashid Khoury, George Khoury…, just to describe the life-style in Lebanon and who frequented the library.

This book could be separated into three volumes: one on Antoine Naufal,  the second tome on the many stories related to the library and what took place within the library…and the third called “The story of Nayla“…I expected more pictures of the family, the house, the celebrations, the garden… and less about the devastation of the civil war: We have too many of these kinds of sorry pictures…

Note 2: The Seljuk dynasty was demolished by the Mogul Genghis Khan in 1220 after he entered the richest city of Bukhara on the silk road and continued his progress to conquer Turkey.  Mogul Genghis Khan established the vastest empire in the world stretching from China to Turkey, including all central Asia.

The grand son of Genghis Khan, Hulago, descended toward Iraq and burned Baghdad, killing the last Abbassid Calif, and putting an end to the Arabic empire in the east. The Arabic empire of the west, mainly in southern Spain and northern Africa was thriving and producing the best scientific research in all fields.

In 1097, the Spanish King Alphonse entered Toledo (in central Spain) and acquired about 60,000 Arabic volumes and hundreds of highly literate people who translated the Arabic culture into Latin. At that period, the largest library in Europe contained at best 100 books, mostly of no interest whatsoever.

Lions and lionesses along the Fertile Crescent ancient Empires 

Major civilizations built empires and cities along major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates, Tiger, Indus (Pakistan), Ganges (India), and the Yellow River in China.

At the current rate of modernization and deforestations most of the aborigine tribes would disappear within a few decades.  Many civilizations have vanished but a few have managed to survive precariously so far.

The best approach to explaining the succession of civilizations and Empires in the Fertile Crescent that raided and conquered the Near East civilizations such as in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria (Phoenicia, Canaan, Aram) is the analogy of survival among the lions and lionesses.

As a young lion attains two years, after being chased out of the clan, prowls the region for lionesses to mate and establish clans of their own.  Old lions are attacked and displaced and the cubs are eaten and slaughtered by the new King to quickly attract the lioness in heat and then new progenitors are formed.  The lioness fights valiantly to preserve her cubs but ends up giving up.

Since a lion lives to be 10 years old, on average, while the lioness can outlive him by 7 years and diffuse many progenitors of her owns then the survival of these mammal carnivores is mainly due to the survival of the lionesses.  The lionesses chase and bring meat to the clan and care for the cubs.

Almost all the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, (the Nile River excluded because in Africa), were established along the Fertile Crescent of the main Rivers of Litany, Al Aassi, Euphrates and the Tiger (for example, the people inhabiting Lebanon, Syria, the southern part of Turkey, the Western part of Iran and Iraq).

The warrior Empires were Akkad, Babylon (Iraq), Assyria (Kurdestan of Iraq), Persia, Pharaonic Egypt, Hittite (Inland Turkey), Greece, Selucian, Roman, and later Byzantium, Sassanide, Arab (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatemid), Seljuk, Crusaders, Mamelouks, and Ottomans.

The young male lions from emerging warrior Empires, during their conquests and expansion, reclaimed the civilized glory and achievements of the Near East people as their own proper.  The Near East people were constantly behaving like the lionesses: they first fight valiantly for their cubs, and when they inevitably fail against the young lions then they mate with the conquerors after the invaders had tried to kill all their progenitors.

The latest archeological discoveries located developed urban centers around the borders of Syria and Turkey that were 10,000 years old; it is these centers that later established the Sumer Kingdom in southern Iraq around 5,000 years ago.

A few citizens of City-States like Byblos, Sidon and Tyr and much later Carthage burned down their cities and then set fire on themselves to avoid servitude and surrender. While these young lions were strutting and showing off in the regions and adapting to the new civilizations, it was the constant duty of the lionesses to chase and bring the meat to the table and care for the household:  They fed and civilized the conquerors.

The Near East people were bringing the food to the tables and caring for the glamour and wants of the invaders whose sole job was to making war and killing on their war paths.

I read chapters from an Arabic book by Georges Masrou3a.  Masrouaa asked an archeologist about the Achmoun Temple in Sidon “Saida”, built around 550 BC and he replied that it was a Persian design from King Kourush I period.

Masrouaa then asked the archeologist why he claimed that it is Persian and the latter said because that is what the archeology archives claim to be.  Persia had no such Temple at Kourush’s time; even if the Persian King paid for it at the expense of the invaded people that should not be a basis to claim achievements of other civilizations.

This is the same story with the temples in Baalbak; the archeologists would claim that it was the work of the Romans since 200 BC but if this monument was of Roman style and glory then why the Romans failed to build something close to it in Rome or in Italy? 

We have the same contentions for the impressive horse track and humongous amphitheater in Tyr (500 by 200 meters) that was built before 500 BC according to Herodotus; if this amphitheater was the work and style of the Romans then why did the Roman wait another three centuries to build their Coliseum? The same goes to the Jerusalem Temple even though the architects, builders and foramens and craftsmen and master workers were from Tyre during King Hiram or “Ahiram”. 

Euclid, Zenon, Plotin, Tales, Homer, Pythagoras and scores of great thinkers were born and lived in our coastal City-States stretching from Palestine to Turkey such as Akka, Tyr, Sidon (called the eldest son of Canaan in the Bible), Beyrouth, Byblos, Ugarit, Antaqia, and so on and yet they were labeled as Greeks.  Is it simply because we were under Greek dominion that our famous thinkers should be Greeks, even if they didn’t enjoy the privileges of Greek Athens  City-State citizens? 

Scores of our famous people were labeled Romans simply because we were under Roman hegemony.  For example, the eminent legal masters, in the third century, Papinian and Olypian lived in Beyrouth (Beryt); Olympian is indeed the martyr of jurists because he adamantly refused to offer a legal opinion in favor of Emperor Caracala for the killing of his brother Jeita.

If this is the case then, why Jesus is to be simply a Jew and not Roman?  St. Paul was actually a Roman citizen that he inherited from his father and great father and yet Paul is said to be simply a Jew.  There is undoubtedly a systematic disinformation concerning the cultural heritage of the Near Eastern civilizations.

The Europeans purposely have chosen to start their civilization from Ancient Greek in 600 BC because they claimed Athens City-State to be democratic and they had to emulate the democratic system in Greek Athens.

Democracy was developed in the City-States of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, Ugarit and Mary several centuries before Athens existed.  These City-States had democracy within their city limits as Athens and Rome emulated later on because communication and transport were limited and the administration of such a complex democratic system was not feasible at a larger magnitude at the time.   Thus, democracy was not translated to the colonies as Greek Athens also failed to do.

Theaters via their verbal communications in plays were the main medium for spreading democracy and the clashing of ideas of various opposition groups; plays created a citizen consciousness that is different from immediate civic consciousness of oratorical speeches.  The Near Eastern civilizations were ahead of Athens several centuries in theater plays; Athens got the attention because a few of its written literatures were preserved and translated.  For example, Aeschylus wrote over 90 works but only seven of his tragedies remained to prove the dynamics of Athens’ democratic system.

Although the City-States in the Levant developed commercial empires they never built theocratic warrior Empires because their citizens focused on civilized endeavors and opted in armed struggles to just defending their central Cities. Athens managed to defend its civilization outside its City limits and even asked the cooperation of other Greek City-States like Sparta and the famous Thebes that the Phoenicians had built centuries before Athens existed and which Alexander erased completely before launching his Asian campaign.

We can confirm that the Near East region was the bedrock of all the civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea in religion, philosophy, sciences, literature and arts.

Regardless of genetic sources, which are an amalgamation of many nations and which is not that important for the purpose of this article, anyone from current States in the Near East should take pride in their ancient civilizations and their original identity as the forefathers of contemporary modern democratic civilizations in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Sea regions.

Note:   Currently, we still have the ethnic Saamis (Norway and Finland), Inuits (Siberia, Alaska, and Canada), Ainous (Japan), Indians (USA and Canada), Zapotec (Mexico), Mosquitos (Nicaragua), Quiches (Guatemala), Cunas (Panama), Yanomamis and Guaranis (Brazil), Galibis and Akawaios (Guyana), Paez ans Guambianos (Colombia), Waoranis (Equator), Amueshas (Peru), Chimanes (Bolivia), Araucans (Chili), Touaregs and Bororos (Sahel in Northern Africa), Tigres (Ethiopia and Somalia), Dinkas (Sudan), Masais (Kenya and Tanzania), Pygmees (Zaire), Sans or Bushmen (Namibia and Botswana), Kalingas (Philippines), Kachins and Rohingas (Myanmar or Birmani), Hmongs (Laos), Santals and Gonds (India), Punans (Malaysia), Uzbeks and Tadjiks (Afghanistan), Aborigines (Australia), Maoris (New Zealand), Papous (New Guinea).

Lions and lionesses along the Fertile Crescent ancient Empires, (August 16, 2008)

 Major civilizations built empires and cities along major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates, Tiger, Indus (Pakistan), Ganges (India), and the Yellow River in China.

The best approach to explaining the succession of civilizations and Empires in the Fertile Crescent that raided and conquered the Near East civilizations such as in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria (Phoenicia, Canaan, Aram) is the analogy of survival among the lions and lionesses.

Young lions that attained two years, after being chased out of the clan, prowl the region for lionesses to mate and establish clans of their own.

Old lions are attacked and displaced and the cubs are eaten and slaughtered by the new King in order to quickly attract the lioness in heat and then new progenitors are formed.  The lioness fights valiantly to preserve her cubs but ends up giving up. Since a lion lives on average to be 10 year-old, while the lioness can outlive him by 7 years and manages to diffuse many progenitors of her owns, then the survival of these mammal carnivores is mainly due to the survival of the lionesses.  The lionesses chase and bring meat to the clan and care for the cubs.

Almost all the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, the Nile River of Egypt excluded, were established along the Fertile Crescent longing the main Rivers of Litany, Al Assi, Euphrates and the Tiger (for example, the people inhabiting Lebanon, Syria, the southern part of Turkey, the Western part of Iran and Iraq). The warrior Empires were Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Pharaonic Egypt, Hittite, Greek, Seleucia, Roman, and later Byzantium, Sassanid, Arab (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid), Seljuk, Crusaders, Mamelukes, and Ottomans.

The young male lions from emerging warrior Empires, during their conquests and expansion, reclaimed the civilized glory and achievements of the Near East people as their own proper.  The Near East people were constantly behaving like the lionesses: they first fight the good fight for their cubs, and when they inevitably fail against the young lions, then they mate with the conquerors after the invaders had tried to kill all their progenitors.

A few citizens of City-States like Sidon and Tyr, and much later Carthage, burned down their cities and then set fire on themselves to avoid servitude and surrender. While the young occupying lions were strutting and showing off in the regions, and adapting to the new civilizations, it was the constant duty of the lionesses to chase and bring the meat to the table and care for the household.

The Near East people were bringing the food to the tables of the invaders and caring for the glamour and wants of the occupation forces, whose sole job was to making war and killing on their war paths.

I read chapters from an Arabic book by Georges Masrou3a.  Masrou3a asked an archeologist about the Achmoun Temple in Sidon “Saida”, built around 550 BC.  The foreign archeolog replied that it was a Persian design from King Kourush One period. Masrou3a then asked the archeologist why he claimed that it is Persian, and the latter said because that is what the archeology archives claim to be.

Fact is, Persia had no such Temple at Kourush’s time; even if the Persian King paid for the monuments and palaces at the expense of the invaded people, that should not be a basis to claim achievements of other civilizations.

This is the same repeat story with the temples in Baalbek.  The archeologists would claim that it was the work of the Romans since 200 BC, but if this monument was of Roman style and glory, then why the Romans failed to build something close to it in Rome or in Italy?

We have the same contentions for the impressive horse track and humongous amphitheater in Tyr (500 by 200 meters) that was built before 500 BC according to Herodotus. If this amphitheater was the work and style of the Romans, then why did the Roman wait another three centuries to build their Coliseum?

The same goes to the Jerusalem Temple even though the architects, builders and foramen and craftsmen and master workers were from Tyre during King Hiram or “Ahiram”.

Euclid, Zeno, Plotin, Tales, Homer, Pythagoras and scores of great thinkers were born and lived in our coastal City-States stretching from Palestine to Turkey such as Akka, Tyr, Sidon (called the eldest son of Canaan in the Bible), Beirut, Byblos, Ugarit, Antakya, and so on and yet they were labeled as Greeks.

Is it simply because we were under Greek dominion that our famous thinkers should be Greeks, simply because they learned the Greek language, even if they didn’t enjoy the privileges of Greek Athens citizens?  Scores of our famous people were labeled Romans simply because we were under Roman hegemony.

For example, the eminent legal masters during the third century Papinian and Olympian lived in Beyrouth (Beryt); Olympian is indeed the martyr of jurists because he adamantly refused to offer a legal opinion in favor of Emperor Caracalla for killing of his brother Jetta.  If this is the case, then why Jesus is to be simply a Jew and not Roman?  St. Paul was actually a Roman citizen inherited from his father and great father and yet, Paul is said to be simply a Jew.

There is undoubtedly a systematic disinformation concerning the cultural heritage of the Near Eastern civilizations.

The Europeans, even before the Renaissance period, purposely have chosen to start their civilization from Ancient Greek in 600 BC because they claimed to be democratic nations and had to emulate the democratic system in Greek City-State Athens.  Democracy was developed in the City-States of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, Ugarit and Mary several centuries before Athens existed.  These City-States had democracy within their city limits as Athens and Rome emulated later on. Why within city-State limits?  Because communication and transport were limited and the administration of such a complex democratic system was not feasible at a larger magnitude at the time; thus democracy was not translated to the colonies as Greek Athens also failed to do.

Theaters and plays, via their verbal communications, were the main medium for spreading democracy and the clashing of ideas of various opposition groups; plays created a citizen consciousness that is different from immediate civic consciousness of oratorical speeches.  The Near Eastern civilizations were ahead of Athens several centuries in theater plays; Athens got the attention because a few of its written literatures were preserved and translated.  For example, Aeschylus wrote over 90 works but only seven of his tragedies remained to prove the dynamics of Athens’ democratic system.

Although these City-States developed commercial empires, they never built theocratic warrior Empires because their citizens focused on civilized endeavors and opted in armed struggles to just defending their central Cities. Athens managed to defend its civilization outside its City limits and even asked the cooperation of other Greek City-States like Sparta and the famous Thebes that the Phoenicians had built centuries before Athens existed, and which Alexander erased completely before launching his Asian campaign.

 We can confirm that the Near East region was the bedrock of all civilizations of the Mediterranean Sea in religion, philosophy, sciences, literature and arts. Regardless of genetic sources, which are an amalgamation of many nations and which is not that important for the purpose of this article, anyone from current States in the Near East should take pride in their ancient civilizations and their original identity as the forefathers of contemporary modern democratic civilizations in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Sea regions.

 Note 1:  Many USA and Western diplomats have described Lebanon during its civil war (1975-1991) as a special quarantine area, sustained by the super powers to retaining the quarantine, in order to prevent the spread of the Middle East social and political diseases of feudalism, sectarianism, tribalism, caste systems, and extremist ideologies in the Arabic and Islamic States to the surrounding and eventually the Western nations.

These diplomats failed to add the disease of apartheid which is the trademark of the State of Israel. This quarantine lasted for more than 17 years and in the meanwhile the USA administrations in the 80’s and 90’s created, financed and trained a potent disease in Afghanistan.

Note 2: Every stated rescue mission to Lebanon was not meant for the stability and security of the Lebanese people, but for the purpose of larger strategic geopolitical interests in the Middle East with the land of Lebanon as a staging base.  It is the Lebanese who encouraged the other nations to look at them, not as a Nation, but anonymous people living on a piece of land that the UN admitted among the “independent” States.

This is so because all the successive Lebanese governments never behaved as administering a Nation, but as fief hoods for sectarian leaders who rule over modern serfs.  Even after an unimaginably lengthy and terrible civil war, which lasted 17 years, every single monster of war-lord was pardoned by a decree from the Parliament and the ferocious sectarian leaders were inducted into the successive governments and Parliaments.

Note 3: Arnold Toynbee said that for certain people, history necessarily repeat itself because they are lazy students. Most probably, it seems that history repeats itself because philosophical concepts or paradigms on life, death, the nature of Gods, free will, predestination keep repeating themselves.

The Lebanese certainly are not very hot on archiving their history and even less on reading and revisiting their past: we have the tendency to say that what is past is past and we don’t care but for the present, and how to live a good life. This saying is true for the public consumption because, on the individual level, family feuds never vanish or are forgotten, or forgiven:  Grandchildren still hate the grandchildren of another family simply because they overheard that their grand-grand parents were in feud.

Lebanon and Palestine have suffered the same calamities of past history again and again. These two States might never had chance for lasting peace and stability. Syria could have fallen in the same trap because it was seriously targeted by the super powers if this dictatorship in Syria didn’t manage to re-read its history and learn from past adversities at the expense of democracy. Syria never managed to bed with theocratic systems, except Damascus.

In ancient history, the City-States in  “inland Syria” barely put a fight to a powerful invader, as if it learned to normally change skins and share in the dominion of the new Empire that displaced the former, as if Syria believed it was actually the new invader.

Note 4:  At the current rate of modernization and deforestation, most of the aborigines tribes would disappear within a few decades. Many civilizations have vanished but a few have managed to survive precariously so far.  Currently we still have the ethnic Saamis (Norway and Finland), Inuits (Siberia, Alaska, and Canada), Ainous (Japan), Indians (USA and Canada), Zapotec (Mexico), Mosquitos (Nicaragua), Quiches (Guatemala), Cunas (Panama), Yanomamis and Guaranis (Brazil), Galibis and Akawaios (Guyana), Paez ans Guambianos (Colombia), Waoranis (Equator), Amueshas (Peru), Chimanes (Bolivia), Araucans (Chili), Touaregs and Bororos (Sahel in Northern Africa), Tigres (Ethiopia and Somalia), Dinkas (Sudan), Masais (Kenya and Tanzania), Pygmees (Zaire), Sans or Bushmen (Namibia and Botswana), Kalingas (Philippines), Kachins and Rohingas (Myanmar or Birmani), Hmongs (Laos), Santals and Gonds (India), Punans (Malaysia), Uzbeks and Tadjiks (Afghanistan), Aborigines (Australia), Maoris (New Zealand), Papous (New Guinea).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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